Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness

Full Text

To view this media, please accept the license agreement:

Hope Publishing: one copy

In order to use resources from the Hope Publishing Company, you must reside in the United States or Canada. Hope Publishing Company owns or administers the contents in these territories.
You may download one copy of this selection for your own personal use. To make any further copies or to perform the work you must get permission from Hope Publishing Company or belong to and report the copying activity to CCLI, LicenSing or By selecting "I Agree" you are verifying that you reside in the U.S. or Canada and will only legally use this selection.

Source: Common Praise (1998) #78

Translator: Catherine Winkworth

Catherine Winkworth is "the most gifted translator of any foreign sacred lyrics into our tongue, after Dr. Neale and John Wesley; and in practical services rendered, taking quality with quantity, the first of those who have laboured upon German hymns. Our knowledge of them is due to her more largely than to any or all other translators; and by her two series of Lyra Germanica, her Chorale Book, and her Christian Singers of Germany, she has laid all English-speaking Christians under lasting obligation." --Annotations of the Hymnal, Charles Hutchins, M.A., 1872… Go to person page >

Author: Johann Franck

Franck, Johann, son of Johann Franck, advocate and councillor at Guben, Brandenburg, was born at Guben, June 1, 1618. After his father's death, in 1620, his uncle by marriage, the Town Judge, Adam Tielckau, adopted him and sent him for his education to the schools at Guben, Cottbus, Stettin and Thorn. On June 28, 1638, he matriculated as a student of law at the University of Königsberg, the only German university left undisturbed by the Thirty Years' War. Here his religious spirit, his love of nature, and his friendship with such men as Simon Dach and Heinrich Held, preserved him from sharing in the excesses of his fellow students. He returned to Guben at Easter, 1640, at the urgent request of his mother, who wished to have him near her in… Go to person page >


Scripture References:
st. 1 = Isa. 61:10, Rev. 21:3
st. 2 = Rev. 3:20
st. 4 = Rev. 19:9

The first stanza of "Schmücke dich, O liebe Seele" by Johann Franck was published in Johann Crüger's Geistliche Kirchen-Melodien (1649). Crüger and C. Runge published the complete hymn in nine stanzas in their 1653 Gesangbuch. The hymn has since appeared in virtually all German hymnals and in many English language ones. The English text in the Psalter Hymnal is a revision of select stanzas from two translations by Catherine Winkworth (PHH 194), one published in her Lyra Germanica (2nd series, 1858) and the other in her Chorale Book far England (1863). Winkworth's first line read "Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness."

The dominant tone of this text is one of deep joy enhanced by a sense of awe. We express joy and praise for "this wondrous banquet" (st. 1), and we show reverence in receiving Christ (st. 2). Thankful for "heavenly food" and drink (st. 3), we rejoice in Christ's love for us and in its power to unite us (st. 4). Often considered the best and most popular of the Lutheran chorales for the Lord's Supper, this text, according to John Julian,

is an exhortation to the soul to arise and draw near to partake of the Heavenly Food and to meditate on the wonders of Heavenly Love; ending with a prayer for final reception at the Eternal Feast.
-A Dictionary of Hymnology (2nd ed., 1907), p. 1014

Johann Franck (b. Guben, Brandenburg, Germany, 1618; d. Guben, 1677) was a law Student at the University of Köningsberg and practiced law during the Thirty Years' War. He held several positions in civil service, including councillor and mayor of Guben. A significant poet, second only to Paul Gerhardt (PHH 331) in his day, Fran wrote some 110 hymns, many of which were published by his friend Johann Cruüer in various editions of the Praxis Pietatis melica. All were included in the first part of Franc Teutsche Gedichte bestehend im geistliche Sion (1672).

Liturgical Use:
Lord's Supper–probably most effective during distribution of the bread and wine.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



Johann Crüger (PHH 42) composed SCHMÜCKE DICH for Franck's text and first published the tune as a setting for Franck's first stanza in Geistliche Kirchen-Melodien. The tune name is the incipit of the original German text. Johann S. Bach (PHH 7) used this tune in his Cantata 180; he and many other…

Go to tune page >



General Settings
Stanza Selection
Voice Selection
Text size:
Music size:
Transpose (Half Steps):
Contacting server...
Contacting server...

Questions? Check out the FAQ
This is a preview of your FlexScore.
The Cyber Hymnal #1201
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #305
The United Methodist Hymnal #612


Instances (19)TextImageAudioScoreFlexscore
Ambassador Hymnal: for Lutheran worship #280
Christian Worship: a Lutheran hymnal #311TextImage
Common Praise (1998) #78TextImage
Complete Anglican Hymns Old & New #149
Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #328Text
Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #514TextImageAudio
Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #339TextImage
Hymns Ancient & Modern, New Standard Edition #257
Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #400
Hymns Old and New: New Anglican #108
Presbyterian Hymnal: hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs #506TextImage
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #305TextImageAudioScore
Rejoice in the Lord #536Text
The Covenant Hymnal: a worshipbook #563
The New Century Hymnal #334Image
The United Methodist Hymnal #612TextImageAudioScoreFlexscore
Together in Song: Australian Hymn Book II #503
Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #421TextImage
Voices United: The Hymn and Worship Book of The United Church of Canada #463TextImage